Great Canadian Parks / British Columbia

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The Parks / British Columbia / Yoho National Park



 


 

Yoho's most impressive peaks are part of the Eastern Main Ranges of the Rockies, located near its eastern boundary, adjacent to the Continental Divide. Their breathtaking cliffs and rocky heights result from the constitution of their rocks - limestone and erosion quartzose sandstone. 515 million years ago, the park's famous Burgess Shale fossils were tropical sea creatures that were buried in mudslides and covered by 10 kilometres of overlying rock. In this hot, low-oxygen environment, both their hard and soft tissues were preserved. Beginning about 175 million years ago, the ancient seabed compressed into rock and thrust into the sky revealing the most complete sequence of sedimentary rock found in Canada. Fossils in their unique and undisturbed strata were transported eastward on faults to their current position on a mountain ridge between Wapta Mountain and Mount Field. Charles D Walcott discovered the Burgess Shale fossils in 1909 and collected 65 000 specimens from his quarry, including many rare soft-bodied forms showing incredible detail, which

has made these fossils extremely valuable to paleontologists. All the major types of animals existing today are represented in the Burgess Shale, but many cannot be classified within our modern classification system and are listed instead as members of unknown phyla. The astounding implication is that half a billion years ago there existed a greater diversity of basic animal forms than are found today.

 

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